TH’s writings range widely, across painting, drawing, film and literature. A bibliography is available, free to read or to download.
He has published seven books: Bonnard (1998), Bhupen Khakhar (1998), Sienese Painting (2003), A Book of Emblems (2009), Fifty Drawings (2010), A Year with Maggie’s (2015) and The World New Made (2016). A selection of the critical reactions to the three Thames and Hudson titles follows.
In addition, the essays, articles and reviews, that he first began publishing in 1972, amount now to a formidable body of work much of which deserves to see re-publication. Five of these essays are available to read here:
- The Inspiration of English Romanesque: Part I — Living Books and Lost Walls (Artscribe 1984)
- The Inspiration of English Romanesque: Part II — The Sigena Master and the High Romanesque Synthesis (Artscribe 1984)
- A New Space for the Self (Modern Painters 1998)
- An Upside-Down Masquerade (Max Beckmann) (TLS 2003)
- Dogma days: review of Art Since 1900 (TLS 2005)
Thames and Hudson publications
Linda Nochlin: ‘Both wonderfully concrete in detail and wide-ranging in scope, Timothy Hyman’sThe World New Made (2016) constructs a new and convincing scenario for the history of 20th-century painting. Rejecting the straitjacket of modernist theory and the rigid model of abstraction, the author, himself a painter as well as an art historian, posits the neglected realm of figure painting as the important vehicle of modernity in the recent past, reinterpreting the work of well-known artists like Chagall, Leger, Kahlo and Guston as well as reviving the careers of neglected ones like Ken Kiff, Bhupen Khakhar or Ida Applebroog. A keen visual intelligence, human warmth and intellectual commitment mark his project: needless to say, the well-chosen and beautifully reproduced illustrations do much to support the author’s provocative text.’
The World New Made has been described by Svetlana Alpers as ‘exhilarating to read’, and by Christopher Allen as ‘a delight, deeply but lightly erudite, intimate, written with exquisite intelligence.’ Jacob Willer, in a long review in Standpoint, called it ‘a book full of brave painting and sharp commentary … endlessly, heart-warmingly optimistic. Hyman has provided the timeliest demonstration of how exciting painting can be…’ In the TLS Julian Bell described it as ‘savourable art criticism, deserving repeated rereading … marked by a scrutiny that is at once sensual and quizzical … with searching curiosity about artists’ lives and the historical worlds they inhabited. To read Hyman on the desperate travails of Chagall in post-revolutionary Russia…is as affecting a cultural education as any eight pages has to offer.’ Professor David Bindman writes of ‘brilliant insights and connections on every page’; Gabriel Josipovici believes ‘this magnificent book by a practising painter…will change forever our sense of the “story” of Modern Art.’ Andrew Lambirth in the Spectator wrote of ‘Timothy Hyman’s scholarly and enjoyable book…the quality of the writing makes the reader want to look again and more closely at the artists discussed.’ For Peter Conrad in the Observer, ‘Magnificently illustrated, this is art history at its most eye-popping and also…its most brain-tickling.’
Sienese Painting (2003) was described in the TLS as ‘an unimprovable union of exceptionally acute looking, magical prose, and authoritative scholarship’; it was hailed by John Banville in The Irish Times as ‘a masterpiece of English prose’, and by Tom Lubbock in The Independent as ‘a classic’.
Hyman’s monograph on Bonnard (1998) was praised by Jed Perl in The New Republic as ‘very impressive. I can’t think of another recent book about a painter that has struck me as so heartfelt, so lucid, so wise’. Julian Bell in the TLS called it ‘an incomparable guide’, while Hilton Kramer in The New Criterion judged it ‘by far the best thing ever written about the painter’. Writing in The Spectator, the Bonnard scholar Sargy Mann declared it ‘a wonderful book … in a completely different class from the other Bonnard monographs’.